Skip to content
How To Do Sublimation on Shirts

How To Do Sublimation on Shirts

If you're a fan of creating unique t-shirts, then sublimation t-shirt printing is a special discovery for you, which you should know as well as the skills with screen printing and making t-shirts with Cricut.

It's a great way to make custom clothing quickly and easily, but we've learned a lot of useful things throughout our testing, which will be described in this article.

That's what we're going to study!

  1. What is sublimation?
  2. How does sublimation on t-shirts happen?
  3. Equipment for sublimation of t-shirts.
  4. How to do sublimation on t-shirts.
  5. Can I sublimate on cotton t-shirts?
  6. Does sublimation work on dark t-shirts?
  7. T-shirt sublimation video lesson.
  8. Where to get quality sublimations?

What is sublimation?

Now we're going to break down what sublimation is.

Sublimation is the process of transferring a certain type of dye (sublimation dye) onto transfer paper. Then after that, it is transferred to a compatible material using heat, so that the sublimation ink is actually infused into the material and they become one! This is a really cool technique that can be used on a regular basis!

How does sublimation on t-shirts work?

Sublimation dye interacts with the polymer coating to make the color permanent. Why does it do this? The heat opens the pores of the fabric and turns the ink into a gas, which then turns back into a solid form within the material, giving a permanent color. To learn more about the technical information of chemical sublimations, you can visit special websites.

As everyone knows, then sublimation most often works with polyester, so it's best to use 100% polyester t-shirts or t-shirts with a high polyester to cotton ratio for sublimation.

Remember, the higher the polyester content, the more vibrant and durable the colors on the garment will be. But if, suddenly, you have a desire for a distressed or vintage look, a lower polyester ratio may be ideal for your wishes.

Equipment for sublimation of T-shirts

To sublimate on shirts or t-shirts, you will need several items.

  1. A dye-sublimation printer or convertible printer.
  2. Special sublimation ink.
  3. Dye-sublimation paper of your choice.
  4. T-shirt, preferably with lots of polyester.
  5. Lint roller.
  6. Butcher paper.
  7. EasyPress 2 and mat or heat press heat-resistant tape.

How to do sublimation on t-shirts

There are many different videos on YouTube showing step-by-step the process of transferring sublimation onto a T-shirt. The process of sublimation is the same for any fabric, whether it be shirts or pillowcases.

The stages of transfer:

  1. The first thing you need to do is choose an image. You can create your own, use a photo, or find an image online on our website.

Note: If your image has words on it or needs to be in a certain direction, make sure you print it in MIRROR SETTING mode.

  1. Print the image on a dye-sublimation printer. The printed image will look dull at first, but that's what it should look like! Don't worry, the heat will activate the dye, making the color vibrant!
  1. Lay your EasyPress mat on a hard table and then place a sheet of butcher paper on it. Then you need to put the butcher paper inside your shirt or whatever you're using to keep the ink from leaking through the back. If the paper is wrinkled, iron it to remove wrinkles. If there are any creases, the sublimation dye will not lay down evenly.
  1. After that, iron the shirt on which the image will be imprinted very well with the lint. Any dust or pet hair that gets under the image will result in stains on the pattern, which will not look good in the end.
  1. Place the dye-sublimation transfer sheet so that the image is facing down. It's best to tape it down with heat-resistant tape so that it won't shift during printing and create ghost images.

As mentioned above, you can use an EasyPress 2 or a thermal press to sublimate a t-shirt (an iron will not do!). You need a constant high heat. Make sure the EasyPress is larger than the image so you can press it all at once if possible.

  1. Follow the instructions for the dye-sublimation paper you have. The two papers you are using indicate that you need to use two different temperatures, so adjust the EasyPress 2 settings accordingly.
  1. Then place a Teflon sheet or other sheet of butcher paper on top of the dye-sublimation paper and place the press directly on the image without moving the paper. Press the press down with medium to firm pressure for 30 seconds.

Does the image quality setting make a difference?

Honestly, it won't make a huge difference. You can see for yourself if you print one image with high quality and another with normal quality.

Does the file type make a difference when sublimating?????

All images are best downloaded as PNG files. Since PDFs do sublimate a bit darker than PNG files.

Note: Sometimes the color you see in the image on your computer screen is different from what you get when printing and sublimation. This is all because some images are saved in RGB or CMYK format.

Can you sublimate on cotton shirts?

Sublimation with cotton shirts works, but the result will be faded. After each wash, the color of the sublimation will fade more and more.

Can I sublimate on darker things?

Unfortunately, sublimation on black things does not work well. The sublimation ink will just be darker on the thing, so it will be very hard to see. If you have a blue print, it will be very dark blue on a black shirt. But there are many different sublimation "tips" on dark clothing. Almost all of them use a different type of material.

How to make sublimation shirts (video lesson)

To see all these sublimation shirt steps in action, go to YouTube videos, where you can find many videos that show the creation process in detail.

Where do I get quality sublimations to use?

You can download or purchase the best quality sublimations to work with at This is a verified site with the best T-Shirt Sublimation SVG templates to work with at the best price on the internet.

Previous article Valentines Coloring Card Cricut Project
Next article Valentine's Day Embroidery Designs ideas in 2023